Oh well. I'm listening to the Sultans Of Swing and and remembering an old friend. Tiger The Fifth.
The three images above are the essence - other than my parents - of what defined me, as I moved from childhood into Reality.
The house was 141, Coral Merchant Street. It was pulled down recently, about 2 years ago. I lived the first 30 years of my life there.
I have no memories of when or how the dogs came and went, or why they went away (died). But, we always had a dog at home.
The longest, most magnificent, weirdest friend I had was Tiger The Fifth.
He was, as you can see from these serendipitous images, a short, frisky bastard. My mom tells me he has bitten 13 people at various times in his life. Of those, the only ones I vaguely remember are the 2 times that he bit me.
What is amazing, in retrospect, is that I did not even think of those bites as something to be angry about. It was as normal as my father scolding me.
But what a dog this was!
Those 3 images are there for a reason. I have a story - one that you will never believe - about this dog.
You see that house?
You see the parapet wall right on top? The 1 foot, or less, ledge of the wall on the terrace? Check the first photo for an idea...it is the terrace of the house that you see in the third image.
Well, this bugger used to pirouette on that ledge, walk on that ledge, sit on that ledge, bark at people on the street below from that ledge, on the edge that looked down on the street, LIKE HE WAS THE EMPEROR OF HIS UNIVERSE!
I kid you not. I have spent hours playing with him while he strutted about on that ledge, looking down on that street.
A Thirty Foot (or perhaps more) fall if he ever missed a step!
And he did miss his step. Twice! in his life...and he survived both times! I swear and I kid you not.
The first time he fell bang into a round, concrete garbage bin (anybody remember those?) that used to be just outside our house. That time around, the bin was full of well, garbage, and a neighbor just rang our doorbell and we let him in and that was that. He acted as if nothing had happened.
The second time he fell, our Cook was alerted by another neighbor and she brought him in and that time around he just hunkered down for a week or so and he was again back to his frisky, irritable self. Again, as if nothing the fuck had happened!
Look at that picture of the house again and imagine this crazy diamond falling into the street from that height....! Twice. Survived. Pass!
When my parents had to vacate the house after my mom retired, it took them TWO MONTHS to move our stuff across the Royapuram bridge into their new home. Tiger stayed in that old, tremendous house all alone (again, I shit you not) all the time, with our immortal Cook visiting him and giving him his food once a day, in the evenings.
When, as a Catering College student, I started seriously smoking kaya, this cosmic champion dog used to love me blowing the ganja in his face. He used to trip with me.
This magnificent creature used to fight with the stray, street dogs as if he owned the neighborhood.
I think a large part of what I am today is also what He was. I swear that till today, his spirit lives deep inside, and also very close to the surface in me.